Announcement: 28 July 1847
Site Dedication: 14 February 1853 by Heber C. Kimball
Groundbreaking: 14 February 1853 by Brigham Young
Public Open House: 5 April 1893
Dedication: 6–24 April 1893 by Wilford Woodruff
In the middle of downtown Salt Lake City sits the Salt Lake Utah Temple on a ten acre lot known as Temple Square. Though its construction was the first to be started in Utah, it was the fourth temple completed within the state. It’s distinctive construction, being the largest temple in square feet, and location near the Church’s world wide headquarters, makes it an international symbol for the LDS Church.
This temples granite walls are nine feet thick at the base, and six feet thick at the top. It has beautiful hand-painted murals on the walls of its progressive-style ordinance rooms, and is one of only two temples today that still have live actors, instead of video, for the endowment ordinance, and one of only seven temples where patrons progress through the ordinance rooms.
It was also the first temple had been opened to the public prior to its dedication. The contents of the Temple record stone were also removed on August 13, 1993, 136 years after they were originally placed there by Brigham Young and other leaders. Because the stone had cracked, the paper items were severely damaged by moisture.
This temple includes a great deal of symbolic images including: Angel Moroni – a messenger of the restoration of the gospel and a herald of the Second Coming; Towers – representing the First Presidency, the Twelve Apostles, Presiding Bishopric, and the High Council; Battlements – separation from the world and protection of the holy ordinances; Earthstones – represent the earth and spreading of the gospel throughout it; Moonstones – showing all the phases of the moon and a journey from darkness to light or the terrestrial kingdom; Sunstones – a symbol of the glory of the Celestial Kingdom; Cloudstones – representing the “cloud of the Lord” from the Old Testament; Starstones – Six-pointed stars represent the actual stars in the heaven, Upside-down five-pointed stars compared to the “sons of God” in the scriptures, the large upright five-pointed stars are the governing power of the priesthood while the small upright five-pointed stars are the saving power of the priesthood for those who attach themselves to it; Big Dipper – used by travelers to find the North Star as a symbol for getting one’s bearings on the journey to heaven; Handclasp – a pair of clasped right hands identified as the “right hands of fellowship” cited in Galatians 2:9, and Jeremiah 31:32 where the Lord uses the handclasp to denote covenant making, and giving the hand of fellowship and brotherly love characteristic of Latter-day Saints; and the All-Seeing Eye – represents God’s ability to see all things.